Press Release
December 5, 2011

Cayetano: passage of FOI is crucial for improved trade
and investment in the country

Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano said the passage of the Freedom of Information bill is crucial to the Philippines' bid to qualify in the ambitious and high standard Trans Pacific Partnership(TPP) Agreement now being negotiated by the US with countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Brunei.

He said FOI will not only address key concerns of the Philippine government but meet the standards for TPP negotiations with the US government. These include eradicating corruption particularly in the trade and customs sectors, promoting transparency, accountability and good governance.

Cayetano, the principal sponsor of the FOI bill, said transparency in government transactions including contracts for infrastructure projects, protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) are crucial for negotiating free trade deals with developed countries.

"The systemic corruption owing to red tape, lack of transparency and corruption in the local level up to the top key agencies is already discouraging many foreign investments," said Cayetano.

He said free trade agreements (FTAs) with developed countries will be a boon to the Philippines' economy.


The TPP is a unique trade agreement that stands to benefit every state in the US by expanding exports to four key members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Brunei. (Other Asean members include the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma/Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia)

It seeks to create a free trade zone covering 40 per cent of the global trade. The United States, along with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam are working to craft a high-standard agreement that addresses new and emerging trade issues and 21st-century challenges.

The TPP agreement will include:

  • Core issues traditionally included in trade agreements, including industrial goods, agriculture, and textiles as well as rules on intellectual property, technical barriers to trade, labor, and environment.

  • Cross-cutting issues not previously in trade agreements, such as making the regulatory systems of TPP countries more compatible so U.S. companies can operate more seamlessly in TPP markets, and helping innovative, job-creating small- and medium-sized enterprises participate more actively in international trade.

  • New emerging trade issues such as addressing trade and investment in innovative products and services, including digital technologies, and ensuring state-owned enterprises compete fairly with private companies and do not distort competition in ways that put U.S. companies and workers at a disadvantage.

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